PGA Tour Week 18

Wells Fargo Championship

The PGA Tour moves to North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship at The Quail Hollow Club – a course that has hosted this tournament since 2003.  It is a par 72 7,440 yard course with 4 testing par 5’s and the infamous final stretch of holes otherwise known as “The Green Mile”.  Obviously with the long yardage, there is the temptation to look at big hitters, but there are tight tree-lined fairways meaning there is a real importance on accuracy as well.  As always good GIR will be a necessity but it is on the greens where the winner will emerge.  Last year Rickie Fowler was super with his putter, as was Lucas Glover in 2011 and Rory McIlroy in 2010.  Over 60 bunkers and water comes into play over four holes, so scrambling could also be important.

The course has actually had a bit of an overhaul recently after officials re-seeded the 8th and 10th greens because of an apparent lack of adequate grass cover.  Therefore these two greens will be slightly unknown commodities for the golfers to attack.  And it will all change again next year as there are plans to rebuild the infamous 16th and redesign the 17th green.  Intriguing to say the least.

As for the field it is arguably a lot stronger than last week with 10 of the worlds top 25 players embark on the George Cobb designed course.  Rickie Fowler will be fighting to defend his only PGA title and expect him to be feisty, but all the cameras will be on the young Northern Irishman as he arrives to a place he has had mixed fortunes at, producing some of his best golf and missing cuts.  It is going to be a cracking week.

Rory McIlroy (10/1 Ladbrokes)

McIlroy winning here in 2010. More of that fist pumping this week please

McIlroy winning here in 2010. More of that fist pumping this week please

We never like seeing anyone tipping up the favourite in golf because it usually means either Tiger, Rory, Phil or someone who has somehow found their way into criminal odds. But this week we are sucking up our pride and rooting for the worlds number 2 golfer, Mr.McIlroy.

He is obviously very difficult to ignore and when we saw his price out at 10s from Ladbrokes (very crafty by the way, as most other odds are shorter than everywhere else) we thought we would take a punt for the Northern Irishman to win outright.  It is common knowledge that his form was deeper than below par at the beginning of the season, but there have been signs of the talent that propelled him to number 1 over recent weeks.

We have not seen him since The Masters 2 weeks ago where he ended T25 and considering he shot a 76 on Saturday it was a respectable finish.  He did end his 4 days at Augusta with a 69 which will give him confidence going into this week, especially as it is a course where he has shown sublime poise in the past.  He won it in 2010 after a record breaking 62 on the Sunday and was only defeated in a playoff last year by Rickie Fowler.  If we have still not persuaded you then we are sure his stats will sway you in his direction.  Averaging over 310 yards off the tee (5th in the rankings), 15th for GIR, 34th strokes gained putting, 17th scoring average, 7th birdie or better conversion rate and 5th GIR from 200+ yards. If that doesn’t make you think McIlroy is the perfect man for this tournament, we don’t know what will.

Nick Watney (33/1 Coral)

We hope to see Watney eying up more greens this week

We hope to see Watney eying up more greens this week

Watney has had a relatively consistent season to date but is yet to really excel and push himself for a potential title going into Sunday. But his recent form has started to excite after a T13 at Augusta and T15 last week in New Orleans.  In those collective 8 rounds, 6 of them were under 70 and at The Zurich Classic he shot 4 69s.  He will therefore be going into a tournament where he has only missed one cut and came 8th last year, with great confidence.  He was actually leading going into the weekend after a stunning –8 64, but trailed off with no round below par.  His game as a whole is looking great and he is averaging over 296 yards off the tee (36th on tour) meaning he can attack the yardage with ease. Whilst he was 48th for driving accuracy before the 1st round 78 at The Masters, which has now pushed him to 138th but he is well known as an accurate driver. His length and accuracy could be a powerful advantage.  He is also 8th in GIR proving how potent he could be tee to green.  It is on the greens where he will need to improve but he has already shown what he can do on this course and with the form he is showing it could be a great week for the American.

Lucas Glover (66/1 Coral)

Glover celebrating his win here in 2011 with his mother. A lovely mothers day present!

Glover celebrating his win here in 2011 with his mother. A lovely mothers day present!

Glover was leading going into the weekend last week after a 65 and a 67 but he was unable to shoot low enough again to compete with the scintillating Billy Horschel.  It was great to see the Carolina born golfer play well again after an inconsistent season by his high standards.  It ended as his 2nd T4 of the year, following on from The Honda Classic earlier in the season.  He will take that confidence into this week at an event he has had plenty of success at before.  He won here in 2011,2nd in 2009 and 4th in 2006.  When he claimed the title he had missed 3 cuts in a row before the tournament, so the fact he played FAR better this year, he could really attack the leaderboard once again.  He is 10th for total driving on tour (56th driving distance and 46th driving accuracy), which is a very deadly combination.  Whilst he is in the top 30 for all GIR stats from 200 yards + and due to the length of the course this is the sort of range he will be hitting into the greens. There is no reason Glover cant improve on last week and win in his home state once again.

Richard H Lee (125/1 PaddyPower)

All the talk has been about the young stars this year who have lit up the tour and excited the galleries.  Horschel, Russel Henley, Jordan Spieth, the list could go on.  But one name has crept under the radar in the last month or so and it may well be this week where he puts his name in the spotlight.

Richard H Lee has only been on the PGA Tour for 2 years after regaining his card via qualifying school last year.  Although he had a turbulent start to the season, withdrawing from The Sony Open and missing two cuts, he did record a T10 the Humana Challenge and a T12 at Pebble Beach.  But it the last 3 weeks where his finishes have been the most consistent of his career, proving how there could be a real charge in Carolina. 13th at the Valero Open, T9 at the RBC Heritage and T21 last week.  His confidence will be high especially as he finished 40th here last year when he was playing nowhere near as well as he is now.

He is currently 10th for driving accuracy and 19th for GIR, so from tee to green he has the abilities to play on any sort of course and he is now averaging over 286 yards which should be long enough to challenge this week.  The fact that he is 9th for total putting and 19th strokes gained putting is more than a bonus and of all our picks there is no one who is as consistent across the board as the American.  If he is in need to scramble a par, he is more than capable, lying in 36th for scrambling.  At such high odds, it seems foolish not to stake your hard earned cash, especially as our 4th placed picks have got us the most returns this year…

Martin Flores (250/1 Coral)

Big hitting Texan could prove value for money

Big hitting Texan could prove value for money

With McIlroy at such low odds, it seemed like fate that we stumbled across Texan stalwart Martin Flores.  His final round 68 at the Valero Texas Open was a joy to behold and it put him on our radar, eventually finishing T10. We know he missed the cut last week, but there has to be reasons why the bookmakers priced him at 250/1! He was T21 last year here and there should be confidence from that performance in Texas as he embarks upon Carolina.  He averages over 295 yards off the tee and lies in 16th for GIR 200-225 yards.  His GIR is incredibly consistent between 175-225 yards, so he could really attack the greens with his long hitting abilities. At this sort of price, a cheeky punt would certainly not hurt!

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European Tour Week 18

Volvo China Open 2013

The European Tour stays in Asia for one more week before heading back to Europe and this week is the turn of China to host. Located in Tianjin, the Binhai Lake Golf Club was only used for this tournament last year, so people will still be relatively unfamiliar with the setup. The course plays 7,667 yards and is without doubt one for the bigger hitters out there. Only 1 person in the top 13 last year drove the ball less than 288 yards, and that man was Francesco Molinari. And none of their driving accuracies were impressive. When there is no wind on this links course, it becomes exposed. Birdies can be found everywhere, Branden Grace’s -21 last year showed this. It is also a course for GIR, if you’re not finding those greens, you won’t have a chance. 3 of the top 5 last year ranked 1, 3 and 5 for GIR %.

It's a great feeling winning here, just ask Branden

It’s a great feeling winning here, just ask Branden

We have taken into account people’s performance here last year, current form but most importantly for us, distance off the tee. We will be very surprised if a ‘shot-maker’ wins this, which undoubtedly they will now after making that statement. The weather this week favours the early starters on day 1. Wind is around for the latter part of that day and also at the beginning of day 2. So someone who can cope in winds would also be preferable.

Whilst all the hype surrounds 14 year old Guan Tianlang, there will be a new kid on the block this week. 12 year old Ye Wocheng shot a -2 in the Western China Qualifier to book himself a place in the field this week. We won’t be backing him sadly, but definitely keep an eye out for him. China are certainly going to be a force to be reckoned with in years to come! Wocheng will also beat the record set by his compatriot Tianlang in becoming the youngest player to ever have played on the tour, Guan set that record as a 13 year old in this event last year. Can he break another record and make the cut?

He doesn't look 12 does he!

He doesn’t look 12 does he!

It’s been a poor couple of weeks for us in truth since our win on Adam Scott at the Masters, so we’ll be really trying for a big few days this week!

Pablo Larrazabal (25/1 Various)  

The lively Spaniard is our main man this week

The lively Spaniard is our main man this week

Now it’s sometimes hard to not let previous backing of players hinder your judgement, and with Pablo we have decided we simply cannot ignore him this week. After all, he is one of our favourite players, often called a ‘young Seve’. After a rare blip 2 weeks ago, the Spaniard produced another great display of golf to get his 3rd top 6 in 4 events last week. He is averaging over 290 yards off the tee which is perfect whilst he finds himself 19th in GIR% on the tour this year. Last year in his T18 finish here, Pablo ranked 4th in GIR% and was driving the ball 293 yards, so he definitely has a feel for this place. Pablo certainly wasn’t coming into this playing as good as he is now either. The Spaniard also plays very well in wind, which could be crucial going into the last day. All that has been missing this year is that elusive win and in many ways you would understand if he was favourite for this. At 25/1 you can’t go wrong this week with such a great talent.

Stephen Gallacher (33/1 Various)

We were very close to backing the man from Scotland last week and he subsequently turned in a 6th place finish. Since winning his 2nd European Tour title in February this year, Stephen has somewhat gone off the boil. Till last week, he hadn’t recorded a top 20 finish since. But there had been signs in recent weeks that his top game was back, and last week proved that! He was 8th in driving distance and 9th in GIR% at the Ballantine’s. You will also be surprised to know Gallacher drives the ball on average 296 yards off the tee this year, which will be vital around here. He is also 39th for GIR% on the tour this year.  The Scot did miss the cut here last year, but looking back he was going through a pretty poor patch and he will be a different animal this year. 33/1 for a winner on tour this year is good value and be sure to take advantage of it.

Paul Waring (100/1 Coral)

The Englishman can certainly drive a ball!

The Englishman can certainly drive a ball!

Not often is our 3rd pick a 100/1 shot, but this week we really like Paul Waring. Paul has not missed a cut since the start of February and has been quietly playing some really good golf. His last two starts on the European Tour have been a T15 at the Trophee Hassan and a T4 at the Open De Espana, both on very tricky courses. Waring had been hampered by injury for 2011 and a lot of 2012, hence why he fell off the radar for some time. But after sorting himself out, the Englishman enjoyed a T10 at the Irish Open and the same result at the Johnnie Walker Championship at the back end of 2012. He is currently competing in 2013 on a medical extension. Before his injury, Waring did manage a T19 at the Open Championship, so he definitely has some credentials. Waring did not play here last year because of the injury, but he picks and chooses the course he feels he will play better on. This year Waring has averaged 299 yards off the tee! And combine that with 39th in GIR%, it is hard to see why he is such high odds. His putting does leave a little to be desired, but if he’s hitting the ball so far, he will be only using wedges into the greens.  Definitely worth a punt.

Matthew Baldwin (80/1 Coral)

Another rarity at DownThe18th is backing more than 1 Englishman in a week! But Baldwin is another man we like the look of this week. He was round 1 leader last week at the Ballantine’s but tailed off slowly to eventually end up 58th. It shows his game is there at the moment, just needs to add that consistency. 5 weeks ago, Baldwin recorded a 5th place finish at the Trophee Hassan which also shows he can place highly. Like our other picks, Baldwin can strike a long ball, averaging 288 yards off the tee. This is a great improvement to when he finished T14 here last year. The Englishman was only averaging 274 yards here last year, so that extra bit of length could be the key to pushing on this year. And after all, T14 still wasn’t bad considering the distance he was driving. He also ranked 6th in GIR% that week. Again at such high odds, he’s another one you can’t ignore.

Julien Quesne (80/1 Ladbrokes)

The Frenchman has a good all-round game to do well here

The Frenchman has a good all-round game to do well here

Our 3rd man at big odds this week is the Frenchman Quesne. He’s been turning in some great performances this year, two 9th place finishes in his last 5 tournaments and only 1 missed cut is good going. He did miss the cut last week, but it was on a course that has never suited his game. His 11th place finish here last year is very promising, he also ranked 4th in driving distance that week averaging 290 yards off the tee. This year he is averaging 292 yards off the tee, again vital if you’re going to do well round here. As well as distance, he is very accurate too. Not essential, but will be very helpful when trying to get as many birdies as you can. He also ranks 53rd in GIR%.  This slot was a very, very close call between the Frenchman and Magnuss A Carlsson, another very big hitter. We’re not backing him this week, but definitely one who can do well here. We favoured Quesne because of his performance around this course last year. Julien claimed his maiden European Tour victory in 2012, so will definitely be looking to push on in an event that will suit him.

 

Quick mention: Our US Open 2013 preview will be up on the website within the next 2 weeks, so watch this space! Hoping to build on our win at the Masters in the year’s 2nd major

PGA Tour Week 17

Zurich Classic 2013

After we endured our inevitable slump last week after success at the Masters, we move to New Orleans now for the Zurich Classic. Played on TPC Louisiana, the course is 7,425 yards and is one where you can’t pinpoint one particular attribute that will get you round this course. Jason Dufner who won here last year did not excel in any category other than putting. Dufner was 9th in putts per GIR and T2 in putts per round. So anyone who’s hot with the putter right now will be one to look out for. The 2012 leaderboard tells the story, Luke Donald and Steve Stricker represented the ball strikers whilst J.B.Holmes and Ryan Palmer, two of the bigger hitters, made it into the top 15. But someone in a bit of form, hits it at least 290 yards off the tee (Dufner averaged 291 yards for the week in 2012) and is hitting his irons well will go well this week. The winning score last year was -19, so birdies will be a must this week also.

Last year's winner Jason Dufner in front of a packed crowd

Last year’s winner Jason Dufner in front of a packed crowd

As with any Pete Dye layout, course management is vital as well as distance control. The place has a very similar feel to Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, with wind going to be prevalent all week. For that reason also, it might be worth a quick look back at the 2012 PGA Championship which was held on that course.

http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/scoring/leaderboard – 2012 PGA Championship Final Scores

Bet Victor and Stan James are again paying 6 places this week, so keep an eye on them.

Rickie Fowler (22/1 Coral)

We can’t believe that Rickie only has 1 PGA title to his name so far, and yet he is regarded as one of the best in the game. So it’s definitely about time he picked up his 2nd. We have been watching quite a bit of Rickie of late, and he’s ready this week for sure. He is currently 22nd in strokes gained-putting, 16th scrambling, 15th all-round, 46th total driving and 9th sand saves for those 71 bunkers out there.  His form is respectable all round, 38th at Augusta and then 3rd, 35th and 13th the weeks before that. Around here he has gone 26th and then 10th in 2012. Other than his last PGA Championship performance, Rickie fits the bill this week.

Thorbjorn Olesen (33/1 Coral)

Olesen is playing the golf of his life

Olesen is playing the golf of his life

It feels so good to be finally backing undeniably one of our favourite players in golf. And it certainly feels like the right time to do so. He was our number 1 Player to Watch at the beginning of the season and he certainly has not disappointed. I’m sure most of you saw his rapid climb up the leaderboard in Augusta 2 weeks ago. The Dane went from +6 on day 1 to -4 at the finish, tying for 6th spot with Brandt Snedeker.  Olesen has 4 top 10’s in 8 starts this year now. We never expected him to push this quickly, but we definitely want to get on board this week. He is 24th driving distance (296 yards), 21st driving accuracy whilst also being 8th in GIR < 100 yards. Olesen has all the attributes to close this week and it is very exciting.

Graham Delaet (80/1 Coral)

The Canadian if we’re honest should really be our number 1, we really fancy him this week. Barring a missed cut last week on a tough course, Delaet has gone 31st, 50th, 17th, 18th and 9th in 5 starts. He was also 4th in this last year which is very interesting. But not only is his form impressive, his stats are too. 10th driving distance (300 yards), 3rd GIR, 3rd total driving, 24th scrambling, 43rd scoring av. 8th par 5 performance and 29th rounds in the 60s (13). Not much else to say, he ticks every box.

Brendon De Jonge (40/1 Coral)

The Zimbabwean is one of the most consistent performers on the tour this year, but has yet to find that elusive win.  He impressed us a lot in the RBC Heritage where he ended up T9 in conditions that could be very similar to this week. He was T2 for GIR that week. 9th, 22nd and 10th have been his last 3 finishes on the tour whilst he has a very respectable 18th and 26th on his last 2 tries in Louisiana. Hoping for at least a place this week from Mr consistency.

Matt Jones (125/1 Coral)

Our outsider this week comes in the form of Matt Jones. The Australian will hope to keep his country’s great form going after good weeks for Scott, Day and Leishman. For someone with his odds, his form is really respectable. 30th, 38th and 50th have been his last 3 starts on tour. Whilst his course form reads 45th, 6th and 10th. A course he definitely plays well at. Statistically we can’t complain either. 40th driving distance, 4th total driving, 59th GIR, 74th strokes gained putt, 29th scrambling, 34th scoring av, 19th par 5 performance are all great figures. Really do think he probably deserves lower odds than this, so take advantage of the three figures while you can.

Jones is a great outside shot this week

Jones is a great outside shot this week

European Tour Week 17

Ballantine’s Championship

By Lewis Pacelli

After a week in Europe it is time for another long haul flight for the players as we arrive in Seoul, South Korea for the Ballantine’s Championship.

It will be only the third time the tournament has been hosted at Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, after Lee Westwood won in 2011 and Bernd Wiesberger in 2012.  Both winning scores were in double figures and something similar will be expected for the victor this week.

Interestingly, last year the average for the top 15 in putts per round was 28.3, which would be inside the top 30 in putting average on tour this season. Whilst the top 5 averaged 75.9% GIR, which would be inside the top 20 on tour.  It is quite difficult to gage what the course will be playing, but it seems the longer ball strikers who can hole their putts will do well, BUT then you wonder how Westwood won?! Well he was 13th for putts per round on his way to victory… What we do know is that it is a par 72, measuring at 7,281 yards and there are plenty of water hazards with tree-lined but generous fairways.

What wonderful hair Monsieur Dubuisson

A Loriel star in the making.

Victor Dubuisson (28/1 Coral)

The Frenchman with gorgeous long flocks has been slowly coming into a bit of form over recent months, recording 3 top 10s in his last 5 outings – all of which were in Asia, which bodes well for the trip this week… Whilst two of these top 10s were at courses of similar length and he has proven himself to be another one of these younger breakthroughs with the potential for a mammoth drive.  He is currently 13th for driving distance this season and he could attack this course a lot more than he did in Span last week. Even though he finished 61st in what was a difficult four days after a 3-week break, he currently lies 44th for both GIR and stroke average which add to his appeal band it does not mean he cannot handle the expected windy conditions. His best professional performance was here last year where he finished T3 in relatively tough conditions and had he not shot 75 on Friday he could have definitely challenged for the title.  Two 68s and a closing round of 66 will give the 22-year old great hope going into Thursday and there is no reason why this can’t be his first Senior title.

Mikko Ilonen (50/1 Various)

Mikko Ilonen showing his abilities in Morocco

Mikko Ilonen showing his abilities in Morocco

When we backed Ilonen a few weeks ago, he played outstandingly in Morocco to finish T2 and give us a solid return.  We feel confident putting our money on the Finnish star again as he looks in such good form that his price seems to high at 50s.  He also finished T17 in Malaysia the week before Morocco and had a T9 in Qatar earlier in the season.  If it was not for a poor 75 in the first round here last year, he could have contended, but he did manage to recover well with 3 rounds under par.  His distance will not be a problem either, lying in 42nd on tour, whilst he is 26th for stroke average proving he can hit low and consistent scores.  27th for putts per round and 16th for putts per GIR show his ability with a putter and he has not been outside the top 5 in any putting stats in his last two outings.  With his work on the greens on fire he could challenge every tournament and it will be no different this week

Peter Uihlein (50/1 Coral)

Whose hair is better? Dubuisson or Uihlein?

Whose hair is better? Dubuisson or Uihlein?

The American is in superb form at the moment, playing consistently well over recent months. In his last 3 European Tour starts he has finished T8, 4th and T19 and with his swashbuckling style he could get his first professional win here.  4th for driving distance will help him attack the longer holes, whilst he is 43rd for GIR and 29th for putts per GIR.  Tee to green that is the perfect combination on a course that has forgiving fairways and could really suit someone with Uihlein’s game.  And confidence will be at a premium having played very well in Spain last week, finishing T8 and finding himself 1st for driving distance, 22nd for GIR, 6th for putts per GIR and 12th for putts per round.  Pushing himself that bit further is within his reach and even tough he has never played here, he could really defy the odds he’s at and mount a strong challenge come Sunday.  There is a reason the American has plied his trade on the European and Challenge Tours and that is to gain experience and wins. This could be that first big leap.

Paul Casey (50/1 Coral)

The mercurial talent and the well, erm elder statesman share a handshake.

The mercurial talent and the well, erm elder statesman share a handshake.

The mercurial talent that is Paul Casey.  Destined to be one of the great English golfers, his well-documented demise has started showing signs it may finally be over.  He has the game to destroy many fields on his day and he should have way more than the 11 professional wins he has.  There has also been an odd pattern emerging where he has won a tournament every other year since 2007, so doing the math, he should be picking up a title this season.  And why not in South Korea?  Without a top 10 as of yet, he has finished T19, T18, T23, T37, T37 and T16 in Spain last week. That is unbelievable form for someone whose game is supposed to rocky and we really feel he could push on and challenge on a course that will play into the hands of the Englishman.  A very able wind player who averages around 290 yards and is 11th in GIR this year would grab the attention of any punter.  Then when you think he 46th for stroke average and even finished 20th for putts per GIR last week, you realise Casey has the perfect game to adapt to whatever course is infront of him.  In Casey we trust.

PGA Tour week 16

RBC Heritage

By Lewis Pacelli

We can look forward to another course of natural beauty

We can look forward to another course of natural beauty

One week on from another formidable Masters tournament, where one of our selections Adam Scott came out victorious after a tense playoff with Angel Cabrera. There could not be a more deserved major winner, so as the girls went crazy and the Aussies skipped work we can now move on to what we hope will not be an anti-climax at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

After the joys of watching one of the most beautiful courses in world golf last week, we are going to be spoiled once more as The Harbour Town Links is another stunning layout for purists and spectators.  Designed by the magician Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, it measures at around 6,970 yards, which is certainly short for the modern game, but the test will lie in accuracy with over 140 bunkers and water hazards that come into play on 9 of the holes.  The winner here will have to be an accurate and clean ball striker who can work their way round the tricky lay out, needing precision from tee to green.  Especially as the greens are guarded by shrubbery and trees and are infamous for being some of the smallest and tightest on tour.  Averaging at just over 3,700 square feet, each green will test every skill-set and with players like Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald and Jim Furyk, we could be in for a post-Masters treat.

Last year Carl Petterson came out victorious and he will attempt to regain his trophy, but with a rich history in winners, it is likely a new champion will emerge.

Matt Kuchar 18/1 (Coral)

Kuchar is in the form of his career

Kuchar is in the form of his career

“Kooch” was in with a shout for the big one last week going into the final day after a 69 on the Saturday, but he never looked like really troubling the leaders.  His four days were certainly a solid effort and his T8 finish showed how consistent his season is proving to be.  In fact his worst finish of the year is T38 at The Northern Trust Open…

We will admit how difficult it was to split Kuchar and a certain Brandt Snedeker, however we just felt more confident in the guaranteed performer that Kooch is and there were worries in how the latter will recover after a poor final day at Augusta.

Looking at the overall picture, the WGC Matchplay winner has a game that could really attack this course.  He has recorded two top 10’s here in previous years, when his form was nothing like it currently is and he is an accurate performer from tee to green, but it is on the green where he could excel.  24th in strokes gained putting and 20th for putts per round, whilst in proximity to the hole he lies 33rd – all key stats for this tricky challenge.  Scrambling will certainly come into play with such difficult greens to hit consistently and due to the fact his GIR have been under par at times this season, he is currently 10th in this department.  All in all we feel this could be a strong performance from Kooch and we all want to hear the fans screaming his name, don’t we?

Boo Weekley (40/1 Coral)

Boo picking up the unusual trophy back in 2007. He loves it

Boo picking up the unusual trophy back in 2007. He loves it

How can we ever forget that final round 63 at Tampa Bay? Boo once again showed how incredible he can be with his irons. His recent improvement in form has coincided with what he states as “Being at the right and comfortable weight”. He seems relaxed once again and when he is playing as well as he can, Boo is one of the best ball strikers in the game.  There is no doubting he can translate this new found freedom on a course that has brought triumph in the past.  Back in 2007 the Texan won his first PGA event after remarkably chipping in on both the 17th and 18th to beat Ernie Els by a single shot. He then returned in 2008 to dominate from round 1 and win by 3 shots. He hit a 63 and a 64 in that win and when you consider how well he is playing now, he could definitely do it again.  42nd for driving accuracy, 8th for GIR and 45th in proximity to the hole show how his tee to green abilities will aid him this week. If he can get his putting going, there is no reason a 3rd victory here could be on the horizon…Lets just hope he spent the past 2 weeks off, all relaxed on a fishing boat!

Charles Howell III (50/1 PaddyPower)

Much like Weekley, it is great to see another player starting to find their feet once again.  Once gracing the Worlds top 15, his return to form last year has transferred into 2013.  5 top 10s and 7 top 20s is not a mean feat and watching him fight for his life at The Shell Houston Open final round was a delight.  Shooting 66 in a last ditch attempt to make The Masters showed courage and determination and even though he fell just short, mainly thanks to Henrik Stenson finishing 2nd, he will carry confidence and a sense of injustice as he tees up on Thursday.  His accurate game will come into play as he attacks the small greens, 42nd for GIR on tour and at The Farmers Insurance Open he was 1st in this department for the week. (He eventually finished T9) He has always been considered as a solid player in and around the greens, 12th for strokes gained putting, 19th for putts per round and 2nd in scrambling could really help his challenge.  As we have stated before, every single player WILL miss greens along the way, so a solid scrambler will be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. At the challenging WGC Cadillac he was actually top of scrambling for the four days.

If there was a week where Howell can win his first title since 2007, this could really be the one..

Tim Clark (66/1 Coral)

The small South African will go into this week with every bit of confidence, after a wonderful performance at Augusta, where he was still in contention going into the final round on Sunday following a superb 67 the previous day.  As we have come to expect from Clark, his tee to green performance was superb and this is why we feel his odds are far too big going into a week where he could suit the course perfectly.  His overall season has been up and down, with 3 missed cuts, but a 2nd in Hawaii and only 4 rounds over par in 2013 show he has actually been unlucky.  5th for driving accuracy and 27th in proximity to the hole only add to his appeal, whilst being 27th in putts per round and 47th for scrambling have made sure money has already left the account… His history here has brought about a 7th place in 2006, whilst he has never missed a cut.  We can only re-iterate that odds as high as 66s, it seems silly not to take a punt on a very capable golfer.

Brian Davis (66/1 Various)

Brian Davis strutting his stuff

Brian Davis strutting his stuff

The 38-year old Englishman has come on a wonderful renaissance in recent weeks after a T6 at The Shell Houston Open followed by a T29 at The Valero Texas Open.  He may not have won since 2004, but this is the tournament he came so close to breaking that duck back in 2010.  He went into a playoff with DownThe18th stalwart Jim Furyk, however came up short on the first hole.  Following that 2nd he recorded a T21 and a T13, which shows how well he can play here and with the glimpses of form he has given us recently, there could be a big surprise on the cards.  27th for driving accuracy, 47th for strokes gained putting and 42nd for putts per round prove how his key attributes will help him round this challenging test.  Plus, it would be great for the British Isles to continue the winning streak and follow on from Martin Lairds wonderful win a couple of weeks ago….

European Tour Week 16

Open De Espana

It has been almost been 3 weeks now since we have spoken about the European Tour, back on Moroccan soil where Marcel Siem convincingly won his 3rd European title. After we’ve all been engrossed in gripping Masters action over the past few days, it is time to focus our attentions on the this week’s event and the European Tour’s oldest. The Open De Espana (The Spanish Open to us English speakers) has been official on the tour since 1972 and has always attracted big names. This week sees Sergio Garcia, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Matteo Mannasero and Francesco Molinari all fresh off appearances at Augusta make the trip over to Valencia on the Parador de El Saler Golf Course. This also is a special week for the tour, as we finally have a European Tour event on European soil! Not since early October last year have we had the privilege.  But make the most of it, we’re off to Asia for another couple of weeks straight after this.

It is the first time this tournament has been played on this course, so be wary of previous form in this event. And one thing we can’t ignore this week is how well Spaniards do in their native country. Garcia, Larrazabal, Quiros and Jimenez have all either won or finished runner-up in this event previously. You would be wise to have at least a couple of Spaniards in your picks this week. The course itself is situated right next to the Mediterranean Sea with holes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 17 and 18 having a links feel to them. And as with any links course, wind will always play a factor. The course is playing 6,945 yards this which is pretty short these days, and there are 4 very reachable par 5’s out there. From what we can gather from the limited tournaments that have been played on this course, length off the tee is crucial to take advantage of those par 5’s, whilst GIR and scrambling will all be important. As with any week, someone who can’t hole many putts will struggle around here and don’t forget someone who can deal with the wind this week!

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (18/1 Coral)

Gonzalo enjoying his 4 days round Augusta

Gonzalo enjoying his 4 days round Augusta

We could not keep our eyes off Fernandez-Castano this week, he has been playing some superb golf over in America and will be brimming with confidence coming to his native Spain. If you were watching the Masters last week you would have noticed him paired with Tiger Woods in round 3 and was playing superb, eventually finishing T20 in only his 2nd Masters.   3 weeks before that, he had a T3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, so he’s certainly been mixing it with the big boys. Due to his exploits in America, Castano has not been on the tour now since the Qatar Masters in late January, where he picked up a T16. He was also T9 the week before at the HSBC. For this reason alone, Castano will want to take advantage of the times he does play over here. Statistics-wise there is not much to say, he turns up in pretty much every department. His putter is very hot right now we will say, 19th in strokes gained-putting and 1st in putts from 10-15’. Not bad statistics considering that is probably the one department he has previously lacked in. We’re hoping for a big week from him.

Pablo Larrazabal (22/1 Paddy Power)

We have liked this young Spaniard for a few weeks now, not just since we backed him last time out for his T4 in the Trophee Hassan. Maybe a bit strong, but a few people have labelled him a “young Seve” which is the highest compliment. But the similarities come from the vast array of shots he has at his disposal and ability to get it close from pretty much anywhere. Even if he does not win this week, he is always a great watch. Before his T4, he was T6 and then T17, so he’s definitely in form and due a win too. This course being links is what really convinced us though; Pablo definitely has all the tools to play well in strong winds. We saw it for ourselves on day 1 of the Trophee Hassan where the weather was not kind to him but he still managed to grind out a level par round. This can all be backed up by his 19th place in GIR on the European Tour. His last win was at the BMW Invitational and interestingly beat Sergio Garcia to the title, could it happen again this week?

Matteo Manassero (28/1 Stan James)

Birthday boy Manassero loves it in Spain

Birthday boy Manassero loves it in Spain

Now would you believe that the Italian is only just leaving his teens this week! On day 2 he will turn 20 years of age. It is quite incredible for someone who seems to have been around for ages. But Mannasero has a thing for Spain. He won his 1st ever title in Spain, The Castello Masters Costa Azahar whilst he was T7 in this last year. He was also 2nd at the Open de Andalucia Costa del Sol in 2012. Safe to say he enjoys conditions that are very similar to his native Italy. Again there is not much to really talk about, he is sensational with his irons and certainly knows how to hole a putt or two. On the tour he is 33rd in stroke average, 28th driving accuracy, 18th sand saves and 46th GIR. This is a tournament that he will turn up in and definitely want to add to his collection.

Alvaro Quiros (80/1 Coral)

We have chosen our 3rd Spaniard for one reason and one reason only, length off the tee. If he can hit the ball like we  all know he can, some of these par 5’s he will be using barely a high iron with his 2nd shot. And in his native Spain, we don’t see why not. One doubt of course has to be his recovery from injury a few months back, but he’s been playing a good few weeks now and has shot a few rounds in the 60’s since his return. But you only have to look at his driving distance to realise he is back. 315 yards for 2013, which is longer than any year he has been a pro. 312 yards for the past 2 years still is not bad though. Other areas of his game we admit have gone off the boil, but this is why he finds himself at such high odds. After all in his prime he was tipped as a future major winner, and he’s only 30 now. If he does regain his form this week, he could be a force to reckon with. Quiros also did win this in 2010, albeit on a different course.

Lee Slattery (100/1 Coral)

Affectionately known as ‘Slatts’ at DownThe18th, the 34 year old Englishman is one to keep an eye on this week. We have seen him briefly the last few weeks, and we have liked what we have seen. His only ever European Tour title came at the Madrid Masters in 2011, a tournament won by Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel in previous years. Lee has not missed a cut in his last 7 tournaments and has always been there abouts this year. T24 at the Trophee Hassan and T17 at the Maybank Malaysian Open. So his current form for someone with these odds is not bad. His putting and sand saves in particular are great facets to his game, while he is averaging 285 yards off the tee in 2013. He’s at those odds for a reason, but could be a wildcard this week.

Masters 2013

By Lewis Pacelli + Andy Taylor

Before we start just a quick mention to check out our Masters preview on Oddschecker as one half of DownThe18th joins the punditry team at Sport Authority.  Click on The Masters and enjoy!

Well here we are, The Masters is upon us. The best 4 days on the golfing calendar and arguably the sporting calendar!  All the golfers that tee it off on Thursday will be dreaming of donning that famous green jacket and putting their names in the history books.

Played at Augusta National Golf Club, the Masters is the 1st of 4 Major Tournaments in the year, and the best if we’re honest. The par 72 will be playing all of 7,435 yards this week and is one of the hardest courses around. Narrow, long and not very forgiving! If one facet of your game is off this week, you will barely make the top 25. Not to mention the putting surfaces, 2 putt your way around here and you’ve done well. The greens won’t be easy to find this week either, expect to see a lot of scrambling.  If you had to pinpoint where to excel, very accurate iron play + driving, scrambling and holing lots of putts will be absolutely crucial.

Masters 2013 is here

Masters 2013 is here

If you haven’t already seen over the last couple of weeks, at DownThe18th we’ve managed to piece together various trends of previous winners that have helped us pick who we fancy this week. And here they are:

  • Each of the past 13 winners made the cut at The Masters the year before
  • The past 15 major winners had a previous top-10 in the same year
  • Past 5 winners were in the top 60 for driving distance on Tour and averaging 290 yards throughout the season
  • Past 6 winners have been inside the top 63 for scoring average on Tour
  • 7 of the past 8 winners finished in the top-25 at the previous years PGA Championship
  • Changes were made in 2008 to combat a certain Tiger and since then every winner hit GIR of at least 68% during the 4 days. We therefore are factoring in GIR of around 60% on Tour for the season
  • The last 5 winners had driving accuracy of at least 58%, so we feel around 55% accuracy of the tee is required
  • 9 of the last 11 winners were inside the top 20 for putting average during the tournament, so we are looking at around the top 75 in putting stats.
  • The most crucial holes where you need to find birdies are the par 5’s. The past 5 winners have hit a combined under par average, so around top 75 on par 5 scoring average and par 5 birdies or better % – The last 4 winners have played their combined 64 Par 5 holes in –38
  • There’s been only one first-time PGA Tour winner at the Masters since 1948: Bernhard Langer in 1985.
  • 69% or 24 of 35 players of the Top 3 finishers from 2004 through 2012 at Augusta were residents in the Southern United States
  • The average age of the green jacket bearer is 32
  • The average attempts before a first win is 6
  • 9 of the last 11 winners were inside the top 20 for putting average during the tournament, so we are looking at around the top 75 in putting stats.

So obviously, anyone who fits all of those categories is in for a great chance this week.

The beauty of this tournament is that you can make cases for a large majority of the field. Even more exciting is how everyone is coming into some sort of form. Who can forget how well Tiger is playing, Rory Mcilroy is looking ominous once again after a 2nd in Texas whilst 3-time winner Phil Mickelson already has a PGA title to his name this year. Let alone all the other people who have titles to their name in 2013. We are certainly in for 4 outstanding days.

Finally, over the previous month our minds have swayed from one player to the next. Our initial ‘4 week plan’ changed considerably to our ‘2 week plan’ (Both available in the ‘Masters 2013 Preview’ tab) and then eventually we ended up with our final few players.

We have a great week in store

We have a great week in store

If you do feel Tiger Woods is just too hard to back against, then there is a without Woods market with some very good odds available. Considering the form he is in, it could be a very popular route. Paddy Power, SportingBet and 888Sport are also paying 6 places on e/w bets this week, so bet wisely!

JUSTIN ROSE – (20/1 PaddyPower + w/o Woods 14/1 PaddyPower)

Previous Masters Form –

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
8 11 20 36 5
Rose is ready for his 1st Major

Rose is ready for his 1st Major

Justin Rose has been in superb form this season, finishing in the top 25 in each of his previous 13 tournaments and it looks like his irons are back to what his amateur days had promised.  And they promised so much.  That T4 at The Open as an amateur was incredible, but turning professional the day after was certainly too soon, missing 21 cuts in a row and having to regain his card through European qualifying school 2 years on the trot.  Fast-forward a decade and the much lauded Englishman is now number 3 in the world going into the first major of the year with EVERY chance of winning it.  Last year he led both the PGA and European GIR % and won the WGC Cadillac Championship by a stroke from Bubba Watson.  From tee to green he is the perfect golfer, able to hit it long and accurate, whilst his putting is improving by the week.  The putts on the final 3 holes against Phil Mickelson at The Ryder Cup last year showed not only his capability but also his bottle.  He has long been considered a ‘flop’ when it comes to the crunch and that is a fair assumption, but this is a new man. Even big Phil turned round at the time and could only mutter one word – “Wow”. He has been first round leader twice at Augusta (2007 + 2008) and failed to assert himself come Sunday but he seems to have an aura of calmness now and why wouldn’t he?

Just look at his stats and Masters form, he likes the course and is clearly a perfect fit – we are trying our hardest not to be sentimental, but this could be the year England have their first major winner since Sir Nick Faldo back in 1996. It could be a very rosy week for Justin…

 Recent Form –

Arnold Palmer Invitational WGC Cadillac Honda Classic WGC Matchplay Qatar Masters Abu Dhabi Golf Champs
2 T8 T4 T17 T16 T2

Statistics –

Residence Driving Distance Driving Accuracy GIR % Scoring av. Par 5 Scoring av. Par 5 Birdie + Strokes Gained Putting Putts Per Round Best Finish 2013 Attempts + Average Finish
London and Orlando 301 y (8th) 57.14% (121st) 65.74% (94th) 68.675 (2nd) 4.38 (2nd) 57.50% (8th) 106th 25th 2nd 7 +20

Note bold indicates where they match the trends of past winners

ADAM SCOTT – (28/1 Various + w/o Woods 25/1 Bet Victor)

Previous Masters Form –

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
8 2 18 MC 25 27
Time for Scott to fulfill his potential

Time for Scott to fulfill his potential

Back in 2002 a 22-year old Australian showed signs he would be challenging for majors every year, winning the Scottish PGA Championship by 10 clear shots and recording a top 10 in his first ever appearance at The Masters.  He has always been earmarked as being one of the best and this could be the breakthrough year.  Firstly, lets be honest, he should have won The Open last year, leading by 4 going into the last day before a final round +5 let Ernie Els sneak in to win another major.  It was a shock to see, as he has always oozed calmness and authority – it was certainly a shock for everyone in the game.  Since then he has recorded 9 top 20s and cut down his schedule in 2013 in a bid to attack the majors this year. His T3 at The WGC was a joy to watch, shooting –8 on the Sunday is no mean feat and was great to see him enjoying his game, however at Tampa Bay his putting was uncharacteristically poor and he has gone on to work hard in time for Augusta.  He simply ticks every box of recent Masters winners and his game is tailor-made for the challenge. He is the right age, experienced, drives it long, accurate and can attack pins – the all round package. Plus with Steve Williams, Tiger Woods ex-caddie on the bag, he will have a professional and experienced voice in his ear throughout the week and he could prove to be a big difference between winning and a top 10. He will have grown and matured from that collapse last year, he is NOT the sort of player to do that again.  And when the great Arnold Palmer agrees, you know its true

“Adam Scott has performed like Usain Bolt at Augusta the last two years, starting sluggishly before finishing like an express train. If he can get out of the blocks a little quicker this time, he will take all the beating. Expect Scott to be focused, eager to avenge his collapse at [the British Open] last year, and look for him to overpower the Cathedral in the Pines.”

Recent Form –

Tampa Bay Champs WGC Cadillac WGC Matchplay Northern Trust Open
T30 T3 T33 T10

 Statistics –

Residence Driving Distance Driving Accuracy GIR % Scoring av. Par 5 Scoring av. Par 5 Birdie + Strokes Gained Putting Putts Per Round Best Finish 2013 Attempts + Average Finish
Switzerland 302.9 (5th) 54.88% (152nd) 62.9% (149th) 69.239 (2nd)   70.45% (1st) 73rd 3rd 11 +26

KEEGAN BRADLEY – (30/1 StanJames + w/o Woods 22/1 PaddyPower)

Previous Masters Form –

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
T27
Great talent and a great opportunity

Great talent and a great opportunity

Keegan has kept impressing us at DownThe18th, not just with his golfing ability but with the way he conducts himself on and off the course. He’s a very likeable character and someone who is freshening up the game.  Has he got what it takes to win around here? Of course he has! 4 top 10’s in his last 4 tournaments, including a 4th at the Honda Classic and a 3rd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, both very similar layouts to Augusta. So he’s in fabulous form. One thing that could put people off is that he only made his debut here last year, but finished a very respectable 27th. And who can forget his 1st ever Major appearance, a stunning victory in the PGA Championship. So if anyone with little experience around here can win this, it will be the American. Another big factor for picking Bradley is his love for big occasions. Who can forget his antics with Mickelson at last year’s Ryder Cup, fist pumping practically every shot. He certainly wears his heart on his sleeve, which we love! Statistically as you can see, Bradley looks very, very promising and if we’re honest is very unlucky to only get slot number 3 in our Masters picks this week. He’s also a connoisseur of the controversial belly putter, so it would be very ironic if someone who putts that way won this week, considering the hype surrounding them right now. Can easily win this week.

Recent Form –

Shell Houston Open Arnold Palmer Invitational WGC Cadillac Honda Classic WGC Matchplay Northern Trust Open
T10 T3 7 T4 T33 T16

Statistics –

Residence Driving Distance Driving Accuracy GIR % Scoring av. Par 5 Scoring av. Par 5 Birdie + Strokes Gained Putting Putts Per Round Best Finish 2013 Attempts + Average Finish
Jupiter, Florida 298 y (16th) 61.12% (79th) 67.6% (59th) 69.671 (8th) 4.40 (4th) 57.61% (7th) 49th 78th 3rd 1 +27

SERGIO GARCIA – (45/1 StanJames + w/o Woods 35/1 Bet Victor)

Previous Masters Form –

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
12 35 45 38 MC MC
Sergio is back to his best

Sergio is back to his best

We’ll start this one by saying it’s the 30th anniversary of a certain Spaniard’s 2nd Masters title, Mr Seve Ballesteros. If you are one for superstitions, wouldn’t it be fitting if Sergio Garcia won here this week?

The Spaniard after completely losing his game for a couple of years is back, we can tell you that. We have watched a lot of him this year, and we have been very impressed. Sergio this year has managed 5 top 20’s from 7 starts including a 2nd, 3rd and 7th place. That elusive win still evades him this year and what better place to get it? And talking of elusive wins, Garcia somehow has yet to win a Major, which is a travesty for someone with his talents! He has recorded three 2nd places, a two 3rd places, a 4th and two 5th places in Majors so far. So he certainly knows how to perform in majors! Interestingly, when Sergio was at the peak of his game 10 years ago, he recorded an 8th and 4th at Augusta in 3 years. Again, his pedigree around here cannot be questioned. Last year, with his game ever improving, he finished tied 38th. But Sergio is a different animal now. If you do look through the betting market, Garcia is arguably the best player at those sort of odds, 45/1 for a player of his calibre needs to be taken advantage of. Again he is a massive shout for at least a place here, and could quite easily win this.

Recent Form – 

Arnold Palmer Invitational Tampa Bay Champs WGC Cadillac WGC Matchplay Northern Trust Open Dubai Desert Classic
W/D T7 T3 T17 T13 T17

Statistics –

Residence Driving Distance Driving Accuracy GIR % Scoring av. Par 5 Scoring av. Par 5 Birdie + Strokes Gained Putting Putts Per Round Best Finish 2013 Attempts + Average Finish
Borriol, Spain 292.1 (41st) 61.17% (76th) 69.2% (31st) 69.276 (4th) 51.79% (31st) 31st 2nd 14 + 12th 34

HENRIK STENSON – (66/1 StanJames + w/o Woods 55/1 Bet Victor)

Previous Masters Form –

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
40 MC MC 38 17 17
In form and just sneaked into Augusta

In form and just sneaked into Augusta

Henrik is someone we expect a lot of people to be backing this week and it was hard for us to stay away from him. He was never in our plans 4 weeks ago, but has certainly earned his place in our picks this week. He is a player that feeds off confidence and someone who needs to be jumped on when he hits form. The big hitting Swede came to everyone’s attention 2 weeks ago with a great 2nd place at the Shell Houston Open (which gave us a much appreciated e/w return) that followed a T8 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Those 2 performances came after some pretty average golf by his standards, 39th, MC, 64th were his finishes in the tournaments prior to 3 weeks ago. So the confidence and form is there for all to see right now. Stenson in years gone by has often been known as a ‘big hitter’ and perhaps lacks skill with his irons. But that is certainly not the case anymore! Henrik ranks 1st in quite a few iron statistics on the PGA Tour now but is still averaging nearly 300yards off the tee. That is a pretty lethal combination. And in his 2nd place two weeks ago, the putting looked great too.

During the Swede’s best years in 08/09, he managed two 17th place finishes at Augusta which is more than acceptable round here! He also managed a T3, T4, T6 and 9th in the other 3 majors during those 2 years. He enjoys the Majors shall we say! But at 66/1, Henrik is a great outside bet and has a great opportunity for at least a place with the kind of form he’s in right now. Interestingly, Stenson’s 2nd place a couple of weeks ago sneaked him into the World top 50 Rankings, without that he wouldn’t be here this week! So it would be very interesting if he went close after leaving it so late to qualify.

Recent Form –

Shell Houston Open Arnold Palmer Invitational Puerto Rico Open Honda Classic WGC Matchplay Dubai Desert Classic
T2 T8 T39 MC T33 T26

Statistics –

Residence Driving Distance Driving Accuracy GIR % Scoring av. Par 5 Scoring av. Par 5 Birdie + Strokes Gained Putting Putts Per Round Best Finish 2013 Attempts + Average Finish
Orlando, Florida 285.5 (95th)(298 on European Tour) 74.29% (1st) 76.6% (1st) 70.440 (31st) 50.00% (40th) 173rd 8th 7 + 46

PETER HANSON – (80/1 PaddyPower + w/o Woods 66/1 Coral)

Previous Masters Form –

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
3 MC
Our outsider this week. Can he better his 3rd last year?

Our outsider this week. Can he better his 3rd last year?

Peter Hanson is our outside shot because he has impressed us over the last year or so.  A T3 at Augusta last year showed the world he has the game to really compete at the highest level and he could have challenged for the win had he not shot +2 on the second day. The –7 on the Saturday was simply outstanding and the best round in the field.  He also won twice at the end of 2012 at the BMW Masters and KLM open destroying both fields with ease. And his form has not stopped there, he has continued into 2013 with confidence, barring the blip at the Northern Trust Open, he has finished no lower than 22nd in any tournament. All this culminated in a superb final day last Sunday in Texas where he shot –6 to climb back up to T22.  His round included 7 birdies and an eagle on a long par 5 which will fill him with the self-belief that he can attack the dreaded par 5s at Augusta. Averaging the ball over the needed 290 yards and having a trusted putter by his side, Hanson is a real prospect at such high odds.  In fact, he has 3 top 10s in his last 8 majors which is certainly better than a lot of players in the field. In Hanson we trust.

Recent Form –

Valero Texas Open WGC Cadillac Honda Classic WGC Matchplay Northern Trust Open Qatar Masters
T22 T8 T13 T17 78 T22

Statistics –

Residence Driving Distance Driving Accuracy GIR % Scoring av. Par 5 Scoring av. Par 5 Birdie + Strokes Gained Putting Putts Per Round Best Finish 2013 Attempts + Average Finish
Trelleborg, Sweden 292.8 (38th) 53.90% (156th) 59.60% (175th) 70.179 (19th) 54.55% (12th) 27th 8th 2 +36.5

It is also worth looking at several other markets, which the bookmakers offer during the 4 majors.  Top Scandinavian, Top English and Top South African are particularly appealing, but Top Debutant is the stand out special market for us.  We would have said Thorbjorn Olesen all day long, but he was in a car crash last week (how dare you Thorbjorn) and has not practiced for 10 days, for your first time at Augusta, it is worse preparation than the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  And that is saying something. Side Note – Fredrick Jacobson has odds at 125/1 (StanJames) and it is far too intriguing not to spare some saved up change on a Swede who is one of the best putters in the world. When you are 4th for strokes gained putting, 6th for putts per round, 3rd for scoring average and 25th for par 5 birdie + you have a real outside chance at Augusta. As we said, any change you can spare, it would be rude not to have a dabble.

So look out for the big hitting Nicolas Colsaerts (11/2), Russell Henley (8/1) and an in-form Richard Sterne (8/1)

Good luck and enjoy the Masters!